The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Local Government Commission set for review


24 January 2018

The Department of Internal Affairs has instigated an independent review of the purpose, role and functions of the Local Government Commission.

The Local Government Commission is the review body for the structural organisation and representation arrangements of local authorities.

The last major reorganisation of the local government sector was in 1989 when government cut the number of local authorities from around 850 to 86. The local government system is quite different now, nearly 30 years later, so it is timely to conduct a review.

The independent review will help understand the current and future needs of local government. It will help determine how effective the Commission has been in the current legislative environment and if there are better ways of meeting local government needs.

The review, supported by Department of Internal Affairs and the Commission, will include interviews with the Minister of Local Government, Local Government Commissioners, Local Government New Zealand, the Society of Local Government Managers and some local authorities. The Department of Internal Affairs will receive a report by the end of February 2018.

FAQs: Review of Local Government Commission

Why are you reviewing the Commission?

The Local Government Commission was established in 1947 as a review body for the structural organisation and representation arrangements of local authorities. The context the Commission operates in now is quite different from what it was in 1947, and indeed 1989, when the last major reorganisation of the local government sector took place. Given the changed circumstances, it is timely for a review of the Commission.

What is the Local Government Commission?

The Local Government Commission is an independent statutory body whose main role is to make decisions on the structure and representation requirements of local government in New Zealand. It is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Commission is chaired by Sir Wira Gardiner, KNZM and its Commissioners are Janie Annear ONZM, Geoff Dangerfield QSO, Brendan J Duffy JP and Dr Suzanne Doig (Chief Executive Officer).

Who is carrying out the review?

The Department of Internal Affairs engaged RDC Group Ltd to do the review. RDC provides consulting services to the public sector in New Zealand and overseas. It has an extensive understanding of New Zealand’s local government system.

What will the review cover?

The reviewers were tasked with gaining an overview of:

  • what our system of local government needs, now and in the future, in terms of the sorts of functions and services that the Commission delivers
  • broadly, the extent that the Commission has been effective in meeting these needs
  • if there are alternative, and more effective, ways of meeting these needs.


Does the review have anything to do with the recent rejection of the Commission’s proposal for a combined Wairarapa District Council?

The Wairarapa decision is one of several rejected proposals that make it timely to review the Commission’s purpose, role and functions.

Who will the reviewers talk with during the review?

The reviewers will talk with the Minister of Local Government, Local Government Commissioners, local government organisations (Local Government New Zealand and the Society of Local Government Managers) and a cross section of local authorities.

When will the review be finished?

The reviewers will report to the Department of Internal Affairs by 28 February 2018.

What will happen then?

The Department of Internal Affairs will consider the report’s findings. The findings will inform further analysis and recommendations about the future role of the Local Government Commission, the functions it performs and the legislation it operates under.